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teigan
July 24th, 2012, 08:26 PM
hi. i have inherited an old CPM86 machine. it belonged to my father who needs the space, since it has always been house stored and it hasn't been powered on in a decade. it has a colour monitor. wish it weren't so big and heavy. i can barely lift it. but i suppose that's quality. they definitely don't build them like they used to.

i also got a whole library of software including a basic interpreter and a pascal compiler. i have a printer too, but it has old style ink ribbons and uses form feed sprocket paper. does anyone own one of these, or know of a users group?

i would appreciate more information about these and incentive to give it a purpose again.

Chuck(G)
July 24th, 2012, 08:36 PM
A great machine with wonderful graphics for the time (wow, you have color!) and the prototype for the NEC PC98 line. There is also a version of MS-DOS for this.

Released in 1982 at nearly the same time as the IBM 5150, but lightyears ahead in engineering.

However--the system is totally incompatible with the IBM PC--even the BIOS interrupt API is very different. However, don't let that scare you--Microsoft made versions of DOS for this, sometimes referred to as "DOS-V".

You should be very proud to own this system.

SteveH
July 25th, 2012, 03:25 AM
Sounds like you've got one of these http://oldcomputers.net/nec-apc.html

Nice bit of kit and well engineered (read that as quality and very heavy). I've also got a colour one of these, but the casing is in poor condition (I have started renovating it but haven't finished yet) and I haven't got a keyboard for it either. Do you have any documentation for this, in particular the schematics? I understand they were provided with some of the manuals. You can find some docs on BitSavers http://bitsavers.org/pdf/nec/APC/

barythrin
July 25th, 2012, 09:05 AM
I'm not sure how common the software is, so that would be a good incentive to back that up if they're still good. There have been a few of these from time to time pop up and gain interest. From what I recall they had one hell of a graphic display ability that was far superior to anything else on the market at the time. You can reference that old-computer.net link above for some good pictures of that example. I think they were popular with engineers.

Chuck(G)
July 25th, 2012, 09:28 AM
Software for this platform is still available in Japan. Would you believe that the NEC PC98 platform once held a 70% market share of the personal computer business in Japan? You'll still find the PC98 platform embedded in machine tool controllers and lab equipment.

One thing that you should know is that, unlike the IBM incarnation, the floppy format remains the same over the entire range of physical sizes--the 8" has exactly the same format as the 5" and 3" disks. None of this 360K vs. 1.2M, versus 720K versus 1.44M versus 2.88M business.

The biggest problem with this line is that it's a closed platform. Detailed technical information is hard to come by--expansion cards are based on the "C-bus" for which little documentation is available.

teigan
July 25th, 2012, 01:45 PM
i have all the manuals, and didn't see schematics for anything other than the RS232 parallel port pinout. but i will check again later. most of the manuals are nontechnical.
i can scan and send you anything you need.


Sounds like you've got one of these http://oldcomputers.net/nec-apc.html

Nice bit of kit and well engineered (read that as quality and very heavy). I've also got a colour one of these, but the casing is in poor condition (I have started renovating it but haven't finished yet) and I haven't got a keyboard for it either. Do you have any documentation for this, in particular the schematics? I understand they were provided with some of the manuals. You can find some docs on BitSavers http://bitsavers.org/pdf/nec/APC/

teigan
July 25th, 2012, 02:02 PM
Software for this platform is still available in Japan. Would you believe that the NEC PC98 platform once held a 70% market share of the personal computer business in Japan? You'll still find the PC98 platform embedded in machine tool controllers and lab equipment.

One thing that you should know is that, unlike the IBM incarnation, the floppy format remains the same over the entire range of physical sizes--the 8" has exactly the same format as the 5" and 3" disks. None of this 360K vs. 1.2M, versus 720K versus 1.44M versus 2.88M business.

The biggest problem with this line is that it's a closed platform. Detailed technical information is hard to come by--expansion cards are based on the "C-bus" for which little documentation is available.

i wish the japanese had held out on adopting windows. microsoft would have made better product if there were a worthy competitor.

i backed up a few discs already. i wish i could buy 8" floppy disks nearby. i notice some of them are copy protected. i have a receipt here for UCSD pascal for $750. that was a lot of money back then.

barythrin
July 25th, 2012, 02:20 PM
There are some for sale here and there. Check the VCGM ("http://marketplace.vintage-computer.com/) and possibly someone here is selling some but I'm not sure what's compatible. They're copy protected sector wise or burned, etc? That's really cool, keep that receipt with it :-)

teigan
July 30th, 2012, 07:54 PM
i was lookin for new stock floppies with no luck. but i found an 8087 math coprocessor at the correct 8 MHz rating.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-INTERSIL-DIP-D8087-2-IC-Good-Quality-/280834236063?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4163065e9f#ht_2301wt_890

i think i will order it.

Chuck(G)
July 30th, 2012, 08:04 PM
NEC APC floppies are double-sided double-density, soft-sector.

harry
July 31st, 2012, 01:37 AM
Teigan,

I also have one of the NEC APC, colour screen machines, and recently, with the great help of SteveH, he loaned me his cpm, and dos sys disk's, I made some copies, I can now at last boot my machine!!! The sys disks only display green text, What is really needed now is some software to show the colour display, Do you have any sort of software that displays the colours/graphics available on your machine ? be great to see some pics ...........Harry

teigan
July 31st, 2012, 09:33 AM
yes. i have color basic and color pascal and both boot. i don't know for how long since the diskettes are over 30 years old. i've heard too many horror stories about rare software booting up the first time, and then the media crumbling away. so before i use it, i need to make copies on new disks. i've seen some 25 year old unopened boxes for sale , but those would be fragile too. the substrate gets brittle and falls off.

maybe i need to clean the heads too. the drives sound abrasive to me. not that i know how they are supposed to sound. all the old floppy drives sound different to me and i can't distinguish the unhealthy sounds yet.

Chuck(G)
July 31st, 2012, 10:17 AM
8" floppies are generally of very good quality. I can still read the ones I wrote in 1976. One reason was that 8" media was still fairly expensive as they precede the mass-market PC. One exception that I make is any box of disks with the "Radio Shack" brand. I've heard stories about how this was not due to bad manufacturing but bad storage in an un-air-conditioned warehouse, which essentially boiled the binder out of the coating.

---------------
Not to hijack your thread, but if anyone cares, I've got original NEC copies of MS-DOS 1.25 for both the PC-8801 with MS-DOS card and the PC-8884 (which I have never seen).

Later versions of MS-DOS fro the NEC PC98 series (such as the APC) can probably be gotten from any MSDN subscriber who included the Far East kit in their subscription.

harry
July 31st, 2012, 02:01 PM
teigan, yes do clean the heads on your drives before attemping any more reads, or writes! I know its a pain, but I had to remove the drives , then clean the heads,and lubricate things as nessesary, I did try to use various 8" cleaning disk's but it seems the Qume drives will not operate unless the correct disk's are used? Chuck may be able to shed some light on this behavior, I can only assume NEC must have used a head cleaning program? or special head cleaning disk's? there is no way I could make the drives spin to clean them, using a normal cleaning disk. same thing happens if you try to insert an incorrect type of disk, the drives will not even attempt to read, they just don't spin. so please be careful with your original disk's , very hard to find replacements. best of luck ... Harry

Chuck(G)
July 31st, 2012, 03:24 PM
In the case of 8" drives, it's probably easiest to clean the heads using a long swab (as in the sort that doctors use to take throat cultures) soaked in isopropanol. On a couple of frequently used drives, I've even installed a white LED inside the drive so I don't need to hold a penlight in my mouth while working...

Qume 8" drives are particularly prone to having the head supports twisted or bent,with the result that the head doesn't contact the disk. Fortunately, once you realize what's happened, it's easy enough to bend the supports back.

yuhong
August 6th, 2012, 09:48 PM
Sorry, DOS/V refers to Japanese DOS for IBM PC compatibles with VGA cards.